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GRDadof3

Retail Downtown

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It seems the retail situation downtown is getting worse, not better.

Van Hoeck's consolidated into smaller space to cut costs from slow sales

Two Choppers ran into financial trouble and closed

Rock Koffman's Urban House closed this past year

Riverbank Books has closed its doors

Several retail spots around downtown have sat empty for years now

and anyone know why the photo gallery has not opened at 87 Monroe Center yet? I thought they had planned a December opening?

Deb Lambers (RB Books), in her email to Chris Knape, mentioned that her decision was partly based on Tall House, Fulton/Division and Area 4/5 not coming on as quickly as she had been "promised". But would any of those developments have created the retail "concentration" needed to make a retail "destination" that would have helped RB Books?

One last thing, the other day my Dad and I searched downtown looking for ear-muffs. Ear-muffs in Michigan. How simple could that be. Nothing, nowhere, no way. The only thing close were hats at a certain men's clothing store with ear coverings, selling for $70. <_< I wanted a $10 pair of earmuffs. They're perfect for spending extended amounts of time outside in a CITY.

Another story, I was in Blake's Turkey last summer and an older gentleman (from out of town) was asking the clerk where he could find a pharmacy. She (and I) could not think of anything even close to Blake's that he could walk to.

Is the current City Commission or DDA making retail downtown a priority? Or even on their radar? Will (should) the new Economic Development Director make it a priority?

Even better yet, we have the largest commercial brokerage in the area downtown, with an entire team of retail "experts", and yet downtown retail is dying.

Or should we just be happy there are lots of construction cranes downtown and stick a fork in any hopes for a retail rebirth?

Discuss, rant?

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Yeah, retail downtown really sucks, especially for essentials. I have a stuffy nose, forgot my Claritin-D at home and just wanted to run to a pharmacy during lunch. Fat chance for a downtown employee.

Probably could've gone to the Amway hotel and paid with my arms and/or legs.

Grand Central Grocery is a good start, but more than anything else, we need access to basic goods downtown. So any developer listening, don't get fancy, just get a Walgreens, CVS or a modest Spartan store into this underserved area.

Please!!!

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Rock Koffman's Urban House closed this past year

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Correction - Rock Kaufman moved out to the burbs. Which is almost as bad as closing.

Scapegoats, one more project isn't going to make or break. Gotta believe there were other issues involved. Books are a tough market, margins are slim.

You forgot the one on Fulton where Douma's Art Supplies used to be.

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You know, I still haven't found the new Rock Kaufman's (oops on the spelling) on 29th St.

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That's because it's on Cascade Road near 28th. :P I even bought a few Christmas gifts at Riverbank Books this year! I hope it dosen't close for good.

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If the building owners weren't so darn greedy with their rent prices, retail could still have a fighting chance.

Little Bohemia is a wonderful store! The boutique to the west is cool, too. If there were more UNIQUE retail shops along Monroe Center (i.e., forget chains like Jimmy John's), it would be a good start.

Also, the storefronts need to be attractive. I'm just amazed that Rockford has left the front of the grocery store and wig shop with such an ugly, unfinished look. Inexcusable.

Again, RENTS simply have to be reasonable. Building owners are just shooting themselves in their collective feet b/c when rents are too high, store owners move out... and then you have a vacant space gathering dust, but no rent at all.

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If there were more UNIQUE retail shops along Monroe Center (i.e., forget chains like Jimmy John's), it would be a good start.

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And GRdad, you wouldn't go to an independent drugstore in a strange city? Why not? A bottle of Asprin is a bottle of Aspirin, isn't it? Maybe I'm missing something, but I would go to the closest one to where I am staying unless it looks REALLY bad. (depending on what I need, of course)

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...

And GRdad, you wouldn't go to an independent drugstore in a strange city? Why not? A bottle of Asprin is a bottle of Aspirin, isn't it? Maybe I'm missing something, but I would go to the closest one to where I am staying unless it looks REALLY bad. (depending on what I need, of course)

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What Torgo typed. There's this product called Nose Better, and when the subject body part is rubbed raw from Week 2 of The Cold That Will Not Resolve Itself, you'll wish you had some. (It works. I discovered it during the Carter administration, and a small tube lasts for years.)

Last year I haunted every Rx vendor looking for it, but because it's so specialized, it was not to be found. Finally located some in a strange strip mall on M-66 near Lake City (I had business in Gaylord). I knew they would have it because WalRiteVS does not. The place also stocked underwear, video rental, and lots of other "save you from driving clear to Cadillac" products. Probably had earmuffs. I bet that pharmacy on Fulton has it, too. (They close early so I did not check them out.)

The other night I was thinking that someone should have provided more amenities (performing groups) in DVP. And someone should have invited mobile vendors of walk-up food to join the media trucks. Earmuffs, hmm. I bet I can find a wholesaler who could ship during holiday week.

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It seems the retail situation downtown is getting worse, not better.

Or should we just be happy there are lots of construction cranes downtown and stick a fork in any hopes for a retail rebirth?

Discuss, rant?

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While waiting for the Ford motorcade at the corner of Monroe and Michigan, with a hot cup of joe, I had about 29 people approach me asking me where I got my coffee. In a downtown where there are coffee shops on virtually every corner.

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I was in Grand Rapids (I live on the West Coast) for Christmas and walked around downtown on Friday, the 22nd of December, a beautiful rather sunny day. Of course, just a few days before Christmas. Instead of finding people shopping and milling about, the whole downtown area was deserted and utterly depressing! The only store of significant appeal was RiverTown books (too bad its closing). Even in this bookstore a few days before Christmas, it wasn't busy and only a few customers were around. It was really a depressing feeling for the whole downtown area. Instead of the hustle and bustle, I found deserted streets and a bunch of shuttered businesses (which is a big change from the last time I was in GR in July). However, I did return that evening to check out the scene and there wasn't a parking place to easily be found. The bars were hopping. The bar scene seems to be doing just fine downtown. However, retail is another story.

There just doesn't seem to be a critical mass of people downtown to support such retail businesses. Additionally, as I've said before in other posts and I'll say again, the more retail/shops/lifestyle/power centers/strip malls/Wal-marts/big boxes/etc. that get built in Rockford, Walker, Caledonia, Byron Center, Ada, i.e anywhere on the urban fringe, the harder it will be to make downtown a retail destination. I often see such praise for all this greenfield development and I always think of the consequences that all this new development has on downtown Grand Rapids.

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OK, you're a visitor to Grand Rapids, having never been here before. You're going to walk to Fulton & Jefferson to buy aspirin? Or earmuffs?

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I've been looking at the idea for a wihle now.. a CVS/Walgreens type store. If I had the credit history or a partner with enough financial resources needed to get something like that off the ground, there'd be one open downtown already.

I ran out of tape whilst putting up fliers downtown last month. If it weren't for my venue a few doors down having some spare tape for me to use, I'd have had to drive all the way to Alpine Meijers for TAPE.

DT lacks any retail offering any sort of general goods or living essentials.. and I KNOW there's enough people living in the area to support a small general goods store. Heck, even the local businesses could benefit from a small general goods store. (Just like how at work today we ran next door to Big Lots for a rolling pin when our sheeter broke. 'Course, they didn't have any, so we had to use a couple 2Litres.)

I think the city needs to get a group together to figure out what will work downtown, and what downtown needs, specifically. None of the "anybody who meets our vision can have this space" kinda stuff. The group would need to sit down and say, hey, we really need a general store. We could really use this and that too. Then, figure out which national chains are performing the best for those specific needs, put together a packet promoting downtown GR and send it to them, as well as offering some sort of grant to help them start a store there. Make it seem like they'd be stupid if they didn't give it a chance.

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If the building owners weren't so darn greedy with their rent prices, retail could still have a fighting chance.

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I bet it was the opposite. Pharmacies always like to have their windows blocked off. Just look at the CVS in Eastown.

Weren't we all pissed when Rockford Construction proposed a Walgreen's in their development for Division and Fulton? Now we want one? I don't!

Retail is an interesting beast. How can retailer's on Wealthy, Cherry, Diamond and E. Fulton thrive even when the neighborhoods were still a little dicey? I think afforable rent has a lot to do with it but I also think it is *unique* retail that will save the city. Not the Movie Theatre, Pharmacy and Bookstore that the city has been pining for the last ten years.

Little Bohemia = interesting, unique and cool.

CVS = not so much.

But "cheap rent" and "Monroe Center" are probably words that don't go together. Imagine if you could take those stores on Wealthy, Cherry, Diamond and E. Fulton and put them in a row on Monroe Center. Can you say "cool city"? ;)

Joe

I heard rumblings a few yers ago that a big chain pharmacy and a dry cleaners were proposed for the parking ramp space where Leo's is now located. My understanding is that one of the reasons the city shot it down was because the drug store wanted open windows at the sidewalk level instead of display windows. If the city keeps that attitude, we probably won't see much else other than restaurants in those kind of spaces for quite some time.

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I bet it was the opposite. Pharmacies always like to have their windows blocked off. Just look at the CVS in Eastown.

Joe

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I would suggest everyone contact Walgreens to let them know that you would like a store located in downtown.

Walgreen Company

Consumer Relations

200 Wilmot Road

Mail Stop #2273

Deerfield, IL 60015

1 (800) 289-2273

Find the information for the business that you would like downtown too let them know that you think that they would be a great addition into downtown. The more people who send suggestions, they start thinking about it. Then if they do move downtown, their competitors will see it, and then they move downtown and it creates a snowball effect with many other retail options.

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It seems with all the offices downtown maybe a small office supply store could do well. Then you could buy tape. :rolleyes:

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It seems with all the offices downtown maybe a small office supply store could do well. Then you could buy tape. :rolleyes:

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Retail is an interesting beast. How can retailer's on Wealthy, Cherry, Diamond and E. Fulton thrive even when the neighborhoods were still a little dicey?

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I've been looking at the idea for a wihle now.. a CVS/Walgreens type store. ...

I ran out of tape whilst putting up fliers downtown last month. If it weren't for my venue a few doors down having some spare tape for me to use, I'd have had to drive all the way to Alpine Meijers for TAPE.

DT lacks any retail offering any sort of general goods or living essentials.. and I KNOW there's enough people living in the area to support a small general goods store. Heck, even the local businesses could benefit from a small general goods store. (Just like how at work today we ran next door to Big Lots for a rolling pin when our sheeter broke. 'Course, they didn't have any, so we had to use a couple 2Litres.)

...

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article.date=Jan 4 2007, 11:04 PM' post='660972]

I bet it was the opposite. Pharmacies always like to have their windows blocked off. Just look at the CVS in Eastown.

Weren't we all pissed when Rockford Construction proposed a Walgreen's in their development for Division and Fulton? Now we want one? I don't!

Retail is an interesting beast. How can retailer's on Wealthy, Cherry, Diamond and E. Fulton thrive even when the neighborhoods were still a little dicey? I think afforable rent has a lot to do with it but I also think it is *unique* retail that will save the city. Not the Movie Theatre, Pharmacy and Bookstore that the city has been pining for the last ten years.

Little Bohemia = interesting, unique and cool.

CVS = not so much.

But "cheap rent" and "Monroe Center" are probably words that don't go together. Imagine if you could take those stores on Wealthy, Cherry, Diamond and E. Fulton and put them in a row on Monroe Center. Can you say "cool city"? ;)

Joe

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